Reopening California: Newsom details guidelines for businesses as state moves into second phase

Governor Gavin Newsom and state officials detailed safety guidelines as California transitions into the second phase of reopening the state's economy.

Newsom said he hopes Californians get a sense that the state is "moving forward," under the guidance of scientific data. 

Newsom also said he continues to be advised by a team of economic advisors that make the state’s Jobs and Advisory Task Force, which has allowed for 33 modifications to the state’s stay-at-home order thus far.

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RELATED: Stay up to date on all coronavirus-related information

“At the end of the day, these are meaningful modifications,” he said. He added that we are “moving away from essential and non-essential to lower risk.”

Newsom said it was essential that businesses work under additional safety measures to protect employees and to “have customer confidence.”

Dr. Mark Ghaly with California Health and Human Services said additional sectors will come back to business and that the state will operate with a regional variance process.

As a reminder, Ghaly noted the state’s decision to modify stay-at-home orders was based on science, data, and public health.

Starting Friday, May 8, the following safety guidelines are in place: 


Retailers should increase pick up and delivery service. Physical distancing is encouraged during pick up and companies are asked to install hands-free devices.

Employees are asked to wear gloves and masks at all times while on the clock.


Manufacturers are asked to close breakrooms. As an alternative, manufacturing companies are being asked to create outdoor break areas with seating that allows for physical distancing. 


Warehouse workers should carry sanitation materials during deliveries and use personal protective equipment for each stop.

The guidelines were implemented to “ensure we are able to reduce risks,” Ghaly said.

In the near future, he added that more businesses will be able to open “sooner than later.” This includes offices, shopping malls and outdoor museums. Seated dining is also included, but "only when the state can put out guidelines on specifications on how restaurants are set up," Dr. Ghaly said. 

Ghaly said California is currently in the “zone of stability,” in terms of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, which allows the state to into Stage Two.

According to Ghaly, some counties have had few cases and no coronavirus deaths for days, which will allow them to go further into the second phase. 

Counties must have the following in order to meet the state's Regional Variance Criteria to ease its restrictions under Phase Two:

Epidemiologist Stability

• No more than 1 case per 10,000 people in the last 14 days;

• No COVID-19 deaths in the past 14 days

Protection of Stage One Essential Workers

• The ability to support employees when sick or exposed;

• Availability of disinfectant supplies and protective gear.

Testing Capacity

• Minimum daily testing of 1.5 per 1,000 residents.

Containment Capacity

• At least 15 contact tracers per 100,000 residents;

• Ability to temporarily house at least 15% of county residents experiencing homelessness.

Hospital Capacity

•County or regional capacity to accommodate a minimum surge of 35%;

•Hospital facilities must have a robust plan to protect hospital workforce.

Vulnerable Populations

• Skilled nursing facilities must have more than a 14-day supply of PPE on hand for staff with ongoing procurement from non-state supply chains.

Triggers for Adjusting Modifications

• Metrics must serve as triggers for either slowing the pace through stage 2 or tightening modifications.

Newsom said further modifications are set to be announced on May 12.

Last Tuesday, Newsom and California Director of Public Health, Dr. Sonia Angell, detailed what the Four Stages of reopening entail. Those four stages are:

Stage One: Safety and Preparedness

Stage One involves making an essential workplace environment possible as officials continue to build out testing, contact tracing, making sure PPE is more widely available, and being prepared for a potential hospital surge capacity.

This includes

• Physical workflow and adaption;

• Having an essential workforce safety net;

• Individual behavior changes, such as physical distancing that is crucial in staying hope and lowering one’s risk of contracting the coronavirus.

Stage Two: Lower Risk Workplaces

Stage Two involves gradually opening some lower-risk workplaces with modifications. 

This includes:

• Retail businesses

• Manufacturing companies

• Allowing a broader workforce to return to work

• Opening offices when telework is not possible

• Opening more public spaces such as trails and parks

Los Angeles County officials on Wednesday announced that the county would be reopening certain businesses and outdoor areas on Friday, based on new guidelines from the governor.

RELATED: LA County to reopen all trails; certain businesses with restrictions Friday

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also said he is lifting restrictions in the city's Safer-At-Home order. Garcetti said the city's trails and golf courses would reopen, as well as the city's book stores, toy stores, music stores, sporting goods stores and clothing stores starting Friday.

Runyon Canyon will remain closed, however. 

RELATED: Mayor Garcetti announces plan to reopen certain businesses, public spaces starting Friday

Stage Three: Highest Risk Workplaces

The third phase of reopening California’s businesses is opening higher risk environments with modifications on the size of gatherings.  

This creates an opportunity for high-risk sectors to adapt and re-open.

Businesses such as nail salons, gyms and barbershops fall under this category where the proximity between individuals is closer.

It also includes the reopening of in-person religious services such as churches, weddings and memorial services. 

Dr. Angell said it’s imperative that “people don’t put themselves at risk.”

Stage Four: End of Stay-at-Home Order

The fourth and final stage is the return to the expanded workforce in high-risk workplaces, such as concerts and sporting events. 

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